The best opportunity to acknowledge the ancient traditions of world’s one of the first wine-makers is to visit East Georgia’s Kakheti region famous for its fertile valleys, endless lines of vineyards, ancient monasteries, castles and delicious cuisine.
In the morning we drive to visit the town of Signaghi – a place of romance and love as it has been called in recent years. Perched on the mountain cliff with its 4,5 km. long defensive wall of the 18th century Sighnaghi is one of the prettiest towns of the country which still retains its original scent and style with its narrow, cobbled streets full of one or two storey houses with bright red tiled roofs and beautifully carved balconies. The city has wonderful views over the Alazani Valley to the snow capped Caucasus mountains beyond.
After our leisurely walk through the winding streets and backyards of the town, we continue to drive to a local peasant’s wine-cellar and taste different home-made wines from Qvevri (clay jar). Qvevri wines are unique for their rich chemical composition, very distinctive bouquet and for their nutritional and curative qualities. Our host will tell us the way his ancestors have preserved the Kakhetian method of wine-making from generation to generation and will propose different traditional toasts.
Later, we continue to drive through different villages and beautiful countryside to Gremi Complex – once a symbol of the thriving cultural and political life of Kakheti Region and the capital of the area before Persian Shah Abas razed it down to the ground. Giving an impression of floating in the air over the river, the Gremi Complex includes the church of Archangels with its beautiful frescos and adjacent royal tower as well as the ruins of different old bath-houses and watchtowers.
Overnight in a family guesthouse in Telavi
(B, -, D )